Where to stay when traveling

You just booked your tickets and now it’s time to choose where you will be staying. From hotels to staying with relatives, there are many options to choose from, each with their own pros and cons.

Hotels

Booking a hotel is usually very reliable and transparent, making it the most stress-free option. Many old school vacationers, like my parents, aren’t used to new services like Airbnb and prefer the ease of knowing everything will be laid out for them.

Hotels are often located in ideal spots for tourists, have easy access to public transportation, and in many cases include a shuttle going to and from the airport. The customer service will be top notch, facilities up to date, your room clean, and you will have plenty of privacy. Although these things may seem like the basics, they are sometimes not guaranteed when staying at Airbnb, hostels, or with family.

At the same time, there is a steep trade-off when it comes to the cost. A decent hotel can easily be $100+ a night and the price only climbs from there. If you want a lavish, hassle-free experience, and don’t have a budget to worry about, hotels are for you. Otherwise, you might want to check out the other options.

Room for 2 in Odaiba Grand Pacific Le Daiba Hotel:

 

Airbnb

Whether it’s an apartment for two people or a huge house to fit the entire extended family, there is an Airbnb that will fit your needs. There is such a great variety in terms of location, size, and price that you are bound to find the perfect place if you book early enough.

For those are traveling in a large group or for an extended amount of time, I would definitely recommend looking this option over the others. Rather than listing a rate per person, Airbnb rates are for the entire place and can be split between the number of people in your group. Some Airbnb’s also offer discounts if you stay for longer than a week and even larger discounts if you stay for longer than a month.

In Hawaii, we were able to snag a place near Diamond Head that was $120/night. Split between 4 people, that’s $30/night! Considering how huge the place was (full kitchen, bathroom, living room with bed, and a large loft with another bed) and the great location, we really lucked out!

Hostels

Most hostels offer same gender dorm rooms, mixed gender dorm rooms, and private rooms. Dorms usually consist of a room full of bunk beds, each person getting their own bed and a place to lock their belongings. The space you get is very limited and there is little to no privacy, but it’s honestly not too bad because most people are out all day.

The private rooms are smaller and are usually for 3-5 people. If you are traveling in small group, this is a good option. You might have to share a bathroom with others on the same floor, but it’s much cheaper to stay in a private hostel room than at a hotel.

Part of a private room in Kyoto Hana Hostel:

IMG_7135

The coolest part about hostels is that they are often run in a way encourages connecting with other travelers, as well as the hostel staff. Every hostel I’ve stayed at has had a super warm and inviting feel to it, and I felt comfortable meeting and getting to know other travelers. This type of setting is ideal for people who are traveling solo and for those who might be new to the area.  If you don’t know what to do during your stay or have questions about getting around, the staff at hostels are a great resource!

Staying with friends/relatives

At first glance staying with family or friends might seem like a great opportunity, but there are several things you might want to consider before committing to this. Unlike the other three options that allow you the freedom to go in out as you please, staying with friends or family might mean having a curfew or having to change your plans to fit your host.

Checking in with your host about their schedule, rules, and circumstances is a great place to start. Will they be around during your stay? Are they really busy? Do they have roommates?  Is there an extra key? An extra bed? How much time will you be spending at home vs being out?

If your host’s plans seem to fit well with yours and you both feel like it can work, then go for it! As long as you are willing to be flexible, it should be pretty smooth sailing. You can really save a lot by staying for free and it will create an opportunity to for you to spend time with your loved ones.

If you feel like you might not be able to abide by the rules that they have laid out, you might want to look at staying elsewhere. The last thing you want to do is to burden another person or cause any sort of disturbance in their lives by staying with them, so make sure to try your best to be considerate.

Extra things to consider

Although it’s easy to get excited about a good deal, please make sure to be cautious about where you will be staying. As much as we would like to believe that all people are genuine, there are people out there who are just trying to make money and are willing to be dishonest to do so. Please, please, PLEASE do your research before booking. ALWAYS check reviews, especially bad ones, to make sure that you know exactly what you are getting yourself into.

I also recommend doing a little research about the location of where you will be staying before making a final decision. You might be saving a ton by choosing a place that is $15/night, but if it’s way far from where you want to visit, you will be paying extra for transportation. It might be worth checking out that place that is $30/night that is walking distance from the city center instead.

Finally, please make sure that the location you are staying in is safe. You don’t want to be walking home late at night in a place that is not safe. I made this mistake when I went to Osaka a few years ago. I got a great deal but it turned out that I was staying in the sketchiest part of town. Luckily nothing went wrong, but it definitely didn’t feel safe walking around alone at night and I don’t think I will be staying there again in the future.

As long as you keep these things in mind during your search, you shouldn’t run into any big problems with accommodation. I hope that this entry has helped make the searching experience a little less overwhelming and little more fun 😀

Safe travels and thanks for tuning in!

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